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New apartment complex to be built in Baxter

Baxter City Council has approved the construction of a 64-unit apartment complex on Novotny Road during their meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022.

For sale sign on the intersection of Novotny Road and Edgewood Drive.
A commercial real estate for sale sign sits on the intersection of Novotny Road and Edgewood Drive in July 2022. A new 64-unit apartment complex will begin development in fall of 2022.
Sara Guymon / Brainerd Dispatch
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BAXTER — Availability of housing was a hot topic during the candidate forum and now the Baxter City Council approved the construction of a 64-unit apartment complex on Novotny Road.

The apartment complex will have 64 residential units and 33 enclosed garage spaces. This development will include a fitness facility, a community room, an outdoor gathering space and other indoor amenities for future residents.

There will also be on-site, climate-controlled storage options for future residents who do not choose to lease a garage. The storage can house bicycles, outdoor gear, and seasonal items not needed year-round.

Map that depicts where the new apartment complex will be built off of Novotny Road.
A map depicts the location where The Lofts at Novotny will be constructed in Baxter.
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The city uses property taxes as the main source of revenue for its budget, accounting for 85.4% of its total expected revenue.

Construction on the apartment complex is anticipated to begin this fall. A multi-use trail will cross the proposed site connecting to the future Novotny Road extension to the south and the commercial properties to the north. The Novotny Road extension has no time frame planned for the extension farther west toward Lake Forest Road.

The council approved a development agreement, stormwater facilities maintenance agreement and a limited use agreement for the development of The Lofts at Novotny during the Sept. 20 consent agenda.

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Traffic study

This project was first brought to the council when Corner Lot Development requested a traffic study for the corner of Novotny Road and Edgewood Drive ahead of a proposed development near the intersection of the two roads. The council unanimously voted to approve the study proposal for $15,180 on July 19.

The study was completed and the results were presented in front of the council in a work session before the Sept. 20 regular meeting. It collected 24-hour traffic turning movement counts at Woida Road at Edgewood Drive, Edgewood Drive at Novotny Road and Edgewood Drive at County Highway 77.

All of the intersections received a level of service grade from A to F based on the operating conditions of the intersection. According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the grade is based on the effect of traffic flow factors, such as speed and travel time, interruption, freedom to maneuver, driver comfort and convenience and safety and operating costs.

A diagram of the road improvements recommended to Novotny Road following the traffic study in August of 2022.
A depiction of a proposed three-lane cross section with an 80-foot right of way for the Novotny Road extension with a shared use path on the north side of the road for bicycles and pedestrians. The recommended layout is part of the results of a traffic study that took place in August 2022.
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Edgewood Drive at Novotny Road and Edgewood Drive at County Highway 77 both earned As and Woida Road at Edgewood Drive earned a B. According to the study, the two level A intersections are expected to be the same level into 2035, but Woida Road at Edgewood Drive during midday traffic would fall to an E or F.

The recommendations presented to the council were:

Map that shows where the city plans to extend Novotny Road in Baxter.
The map depicts where Novotny Road will be extended. Farther extension west toward Lake Forest Road is not planned at this moment.
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  • A three-lane cross section with an 80-foot right of way for Novotny Road extension with a shared use path on the north side of the road for bicycles and pedestrians.
  • Primary access of the apartment complex on Novotny Road with a second access on Edgewood Drive.
  • An extension of Novotny Road and Lake Forest Road to the intersection when the remainder of the existing site develops. 
  • When all other planned land uses in the study area are developed, Novotny Road should be extended to Inglewood Drive and Lake Forest Road should be extended to Woida Road. 
  • The future roadway extensions should be three lanes as recommended now for Novotny Road. However, the extension of Novotny Road west of Lake Forest Road will be evaluated at the time of future development, since the potential for residential development exists in that area, and a two-lane road may be sufficient. 

The results of the study were accepted as a part of the consent agenda.
SARA GUYMON may be reached at 218-855-5851 or at sara.guymon@brainerddispatch.com. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/SaraGuymon. 

Sara Guymon recently joined the Brainerd Dispatch as a staff writer.
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